We know it’s not our fault

letter

The very last thing I did before the appraisal person arrived at our house last week, was make one last run through of The Peacemaker’s bedroom and make his bed the way it was intended to be made. He was grumbling upstairs about where was he supposed to go while the appraiser was here. The appraisal was scheduled for early morning, before The Peacemaker is normally out of bed, so a little grumpiness was not unexpected. I told him he could be anywhere, just not sleeping in his bed. He seemed more anxious about the appraisal than I was, or just pissed that he had to get up early.

As I was making his bed, he yelled down to me from upstairs, “what are you doing down there?” I laughed and asked him if he was paranoid I was going through his “stuff.” I have gone through his stuff many times over the years of him growing up and I can tell you, nothing I find in his room would surprise me now. He came downstairs and waved a two page letter in front of me. I didn’t take it. I had my suspicions of what it was. I could see the tears in his eyes… the tears sat there, watery, but didn’t spill out. He said it was a letter from Daddy, an amends letter. He said he didn’t understand why his father had just left it there for him. I said it was my understanding that his father had tried to talk with him, but he was unavailable. The Peacemaker’s comment: “he didn’t try very hard.”

I really get what he was saying. Going through any of this is hard on us. It is emotionally draining and frankly, makes us feel like we weren’t worthy of Blue Eyes being kind to us, because he did very unkind things. No one likes being lied to, it messes with your mind. We want extra effort put into making us feel safe and loved, now. We want him to bend over backwards for us. I could see that desire that I have felt on so many days, the desire for his father to work harder, and his disappointment at the letter itself. The Peacemaker lamented that the letter was not what he was expecting, or frankly that he wasn’t expecting a letter. That the letter talked a lot about the mistakes Blue Eyes had made and that it wasn’t The Peacemaker’s fault. It was a deja vu moment because it sounded very similar to the letter Blue Eyes first wrote to me, all those months ago. The letter didn’t work for me, it didn’t make me feel better, so why did he think it would work on our vulnerable, sensitive, beaten down son? He also said that Blue Eyes had not mentioned me, at all. This seemed to really bother my precious son. That of all the things his father had done, and the days and weeks and months of watching me in trauma, Blue Eyes had not even mentioned it.

When Blue Eyes had written the first letter to me, we had talked about why it hadn’t worked. Why it not only didn’t make me feel better, it made me feel worse. (The Ninth Step). I thought he got it. I thought he would be able to use the process he went through with me to help him do better with our boys. Not so, apparently. As much as I believe the 12 step process is crucial to Blue Eyes’ success in recovery, I don’t like the way it feels so prescribed, so stagnant. Blue Eyes was guided by a 12 step friend, his sponsor, and his therapist. These guys are seasoned 12 steppers. How could he have not done better? Each person needs to be able to adapt the steps and their meanings to their own situation. As much as the steps are for the addict, I believe this one step should also be for the person that is receiving the amends. Otherwise, why share at all?

So, speaking of that work in progress addict me and The Peacemaker are living with, he is back at the drawing board. He needs to dig deeper. Blue Eyes needs to go to that place of vulnerability that he hates so much. It is the only way to actually feel some of those emotions he has suppressed his whole life. In my mind, it is the point of this exercise… dig deep enough in there to truly think about the needs of someone else, and make them feel special, make them feel like they are worth your time and effort. Prove to them, as much as you can with a few words on a page (or preferably coming directly out of your mouth) that they matter in your life. Let them know how truly and deeply you regret treating them badly. Don’t toss a letter on your son’s bedside table after he has gone to bed that says, “son, I was bad, and it’s not your fault.” We all fucking know… it’s not our fault.

24 thoughts on “We know it’s not our fault

  1. The Peacemaker is quite the young man. Having three boys myself, I understand the love that he has for you. It is obvious that his healing is linked to your healing.
    I’m in no way comparing the two situations….but, my mother has not been present in much of my life. Through my 20s and 30s, I would receive a surprise letter (I’ve kept them all) explaining herself. I would then place a call and we would quickly make amends, until her next episode.
    Before I was a mother, her absence/episodes only affected me. After becoming a mother, I realized that her actions were affecting my children, too. Her sudden appearance in our life and desire to “do better”, was only confusing to my boys. We set a strong boundary with her, about three years ago. Mostly she complies, but about a month ago, she texted me. With some shame and regret, I never responded.
    From her, I just want validation through actions. Not just one action. Nothing in writing. In fact, I know that (re?)building our relationship will take time. If she was genuinely interested in me and my family, it would be easy for her to respond and relate to us. This would allow her to feel those emotions that would allow her to realize the loss that her absence created. Maybe not. I often wonder if she could ever feel the “loss” of having a relationship with my boys. I digress….but maybe the Peacemaker feels like this, too. (Having said all of this, I am in no way, comparing my mom to BE.)
    I agree that there isn’t a book to tell a parent how to make amends. Sure, if I yell at my boys when I shouldn’t, I try to make amends right away. But BE is making amends for something that occurred over time. I wouldn’t think that a letter would be able to solve it. I’m surprised that the Peacemaker didn’t let it slide, given his nickname. I admire him for communicating his disappointment.
    Maybe spending actual time together will help BE see, hear, and understand this beautiful young man that you two created. Without truly knowing him, it will be hard to understand the way to his heart. A

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your Mom sounds a little like BE’s mom, sometimes relationships can be very destructive especially if all parties aren’t putting in the same effort. I know BE wants to have good and loving relationships with his sons. He adores them. I know he wishes he had been better, but you can’t go backwards. I think he was a fine father, but when the secrets started flowing, I’m sure he realized just how many times he failed them when he could have/should have been there for them. He does care and that is the battle. Now he needs to maintain that integrity and be honest in all facets of his life knowing he is an addict. We want nothing more than to be there with him. The Peacemaker didn’t want to be involved in the amends step at all and when BE tried to set up a time to talk with him, The Peacemaker tried to get out of it. He wanted it to be over, but I don’t think their relationship could be really good going forward without BE speaking from the heart in a way that validated The Peacemaker’s vulnerable feelings. I am very glad he voiced his concern. Of course I wished he had the kind of relationship with BE that he could have voiced it directly to him, but he knows I know how he feels and from the letter, it was pretty obvious that BE wasn’t really addressing those feelings. I have always been there for my boys, even staying home from trips I REALLY wanted to go on in order to make sure, on the very slight and off chance that something bad might happen, I wanted to be there for them. I’m not a martyr, but I am ready for BE to step up now. I think BE does know our son, he is just so in the habit of taking the easy way out, and the rest of us going along because we didn’t have all the facts. He cannot do that anymore in life… plus, his “easy” way actually looks like the VERY HARD way to me. It caused so much pain for so many. So now, the amends step is over and we are all exhausted from it and we all need a vacation, ha! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for this post, Kat. I read that most addicts struggle with emotional maturity. Addictions seem to stop the process of emotional maturity. So if an addiction started in the teens or 20s the addict still has the mental thought processes of a person that age even though he or she is much older. The addict can’t get a feel for life’s situations, doesn’t learn from mistakes. In short, misses out on the experiences learned from living. I am very new at this, but I see recovery as the process of learning those missed lessons. My husband has taken 6 mos and counting to complete the first step. His sponsor sent him back to the drawing board twice. . Progress not perfection.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Absolutely. Blue Eyes started acting out… in other words participating in behaviors that he himself hid and considered shameful since he was 10 years old. So yeah, stunted. That and the fact that it is overwhelming for them now to go back and make amends for ALL they have done. In their mind I am sure it is monumental. However, that is not what we are asking for. We are asking for acknowledgment that what he was doing, even though he thought we would never find out, was hurtful, painfully devastating and that he needs to acknowledge that he knows this and feels it deep in there. That he can feel it without breaking. He completed the ninth step last night with our son. As I have mentioned in other comments, he threw out the letter, the books, the advice, and just spoke from his heart. They both feel a lot better now.

      And btw, it took BE more than 9 months to complete his first step, so yeah, no schedule, no set timeline. Progress not perfection. He was at a meeting yesterday with a guy who is 20 years in recovery, three years sober I think, and is still on his 4th step… but also no intimate relationships in 20 years. I have become pretty good at spotting when there is no progress with BE. I am okay with bringing this to his attention because it is part of my boundary. He knows when he is slipping… we both do, now. Did your husband do his first step in front of a 12 step group? Just asking, I know all meetings are a little different. It was a big deal for BE and he even invited guys to be there for it. I know some meetings they just share with their sponsor, but BE sharing it in front of the group, some strangers, really forced him to be vulnerable. It was a really big deal. After all is said and done, the 1st, 4/5th, and 8/9th are really really tough. He has 10-12 to go, but they are ongoing and more personally driven. I hope our husbands are really and truly finally learning all those lessons they missed out on. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kat, my husband is still working on his first step, but tells me he only has a couple more hours of work to complete it. He will present it to his 12 step group, and, yeah, it’s a big deal with them. His sponsor will be there and he will let the group know ahead of time the day he is presenting it. His 12-step group meets every week-day morning from 7:30 am to 9:00 pm. He rarely misses a meeting, but he has struggled with the step work. His first sponsor “fired” him because he wasn’t doing the step work!!!! I think that was a shock and a wake-up call. He immediately got another sponsor who put some rules in place from day one, and sent him back to the drawing board twice. He has written pages and pages, so I think it must be overwhelming looking at how unmanageable his life has become. I hope to reach a point when I can tell whether he is making progress.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I thought I responded to this… things are all topsy turvy with our son in town. He leaves early tomorrow morning. I am glad to hear your husband will present in front of the group. I do think that provides a really important accountability factor. And, if he has written pages and pages, it sounds like he has done some work that will apply to step 4 as well. In my mind, steps 1, 4/5, 8/9 are the most critical to their recovery, and the most difficult. You WILL be able to tell when he is making progress. I’m sure he already is, but soon it will click. My healing really coincided with BE doing the tough work. The whole thing is emotionally draining, but regardless of what we are doing with our own healing and our own lives, I cannot imagine them continuing to live the way they had been. xx

          Like

  3. This is so sad, the impact this crap has on the children. I’m so sorry your son has to go through this. It is tough for us adults to deal with it, but I can’t begin to imagine how awfully difficult it is to process for a kid. Sigh. It is also heartbreaking that someone who has been in recovery for years and has been doing so much work to change, and had gone through three rounds of 9th stepping with you, still does the very same mistakes. Makes you wonder if they will ever change, if they will ever get it. Sigh. I hope and pray that he’ll do better in round 2 with your son – and that Peacemaker will be open to giving him a second try with this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi MWS, thanks so much for your comment. Yeah, it sucks. I am sorry for my son as well. It makes my heart hurt, but it is our reality. We love BE and we want him to be able to communicate with us in a way that makes us feel validated. It is terribly frustrating how long this process takes, but it is a process. The truth about BE from my perspective is that he didn’t know what was wrong with him. He didn’t know why he was doing all the bad. He had been feeling bad and shameful about himself for so long, he never felt worthy of any of us, but that is not an excuse to continue the hurtful behavior. He rationalized that we would never find out and therefore never be hurt. That is just delusional thinking and implicitly wrong in my book, but I did not grow up the way he did. I didn’t have to rationalize a secret life. I didn’t feel bad about myself every single day. I am not an addict.

      Blue Eyes was a sex addict for forty years. The process of recovering from addiction and changing the way their brain functions is a long and hard fought battle. I wish it was easier. I wish he was “better” at it. But I do believe in him and I do love him with everything I have. Otherwise, well you know, my blog would be a divorce blog or I wouldn’t have this blog at all perhaps.

      I can say that last night I was exhausted and went to bed early. BE took that opportunity to sit down with our son. BE threw out the books and the letters and he spoke from his heart. Our son requested to stand while BE sat on the sofa. BE told me this morning that he just said whatever came to his mind and The Peacemaker, who at first was stoic and guarded, embraced him and accepted his apologies for being not just an imperfect being, because we all are, but for actively pursuing a secret life that took precious time away from The Peacemaker, for lying to him, and for hurting his mother so devastatingly. He promised that he would never do anything like that again. That he would never go back to his sick secret life and that he would always be open and honest with our son. Hopefully he can keep his promises. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      • Oh Kat, that is beautiful. I, too, hope and pray that he can keep his promises – to you and your son. Who by the way comes across from your writings like a very mature and sensitive human being. Let’s hope that his father’s illness won’t break him, but rather make him all the better and stronger and wiser. Hugs.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I hope our son’s experiences will encourage him to be honest in everything he does. He is mature in some ways and immature in others and he is very sensitive. The thing is, our boys were grown (but of course we all all emotionally vulnerable) when they found out, so they had a certain image of their father, and like me, us, all of us who have been systematically lied to, it hurts like hell to have your reality obliterated. They still love him for all the things he presented to them as their father (except all his absences), but now they really just want him to be emotionally (and literally) honest with them so they can have mature adult relationships with him. No more running and hiding behind a secret life. We’re all on board for that. Although it seems so instinctual to those of us who always led an honest life, for an addict, it feels like their protection is being stripped away from them. We get that, but we know BE can do it! Hugs to you too. I’m still reading and watching your story unfold. ❤

          Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh Kat! Fucking heartbreaking. I honestly think that although he has worked hard to unfuck his fuckedupness, that something really is missing in these people. Not just damaged, although there is undoubtedly a lot of damage. They just can’t seem to empathise. To put themselves in another’s shoes properly. Ever. (Just had some more of this experience myself in the last 24 hours.) A letter that they feel they have sweated over seems like an acceptable thing to do. I am sorry. Sorry that the Peacemaker was let down. And I so get why he was upset about you missing from the letter. Hmm. Back to the drawing board, BE?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep. He’s back at it. Hopefully second time’s a charm after he already went three rounds with me? He finally did get “it” right with me, but when given the chance to dive deep again, he floundered around in shallow water. You should see him empathize with his buddies. That’s easy because he knows how they feel. He cannot really know how we feel, and of course he had the ability to block us out of his secret life and that’s really fucked up, but he sure can be better at trying to understand what effect his behavior had on us. Just saying he’s sorry and we didn’t do anything wrong doesn’t cut it. You’d think he’d want to get this step over with and move the fuck on. You’d think?!!! *sigh*

      Liked by 1 person

      • I find that part of the thinking that allowed the behaviour in the first place is kind of part of the denial that they have even done any real damage to our kids. Roger believes ‘they are fine.’ Yep. Like I was ‘fine’ – it isn’t like your whole world is ruined. But cheating/addict parents do affect kids. As a child of this, yeah, I was fine. But I had embedded ideas about how I was going to avoid a divorce. How I would ensure I didn’t fall for a cheat. Or someone who didn’t love me enough. You have ideas about what kind of people do this. And what to work hard to avoid. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. It made me cynical about a lot of ‘love.’ And lots more. It really REALLY irks me when he says the kids are fine. Because I was for over 30 years. But I know my determination to avoid a cheating partner is part of my frustration and fury that he did!

        Liked by 1 person

        • BE knows he has done real damage, he is just so close to that precipice still that digging into that deep painful place to acknowledge the magnitude of what he has done is difficult, doesn’t come naturally and in these times he hands over control to his 12 step/therapy resources when what he really needs to do is throw away the books and papers and speak from the heart. He did that with our younger son last night after I went to bed and they are both in a better place now. It’s a process after all, and a very painful one.

          I never thought much about divorce with BE because I didn’t think there was anything wrong with our marriage, but as far as my parents… I was happy they divorced. Their marriage was full of arguing and bitterness and I was so happy my Dad moved out because all that went with him and I got to stay with my Mum, but I was six. I just wanted peace and quiet. Our kids never dealt with any of that as I am sure your kids didn’t either. The devastation is in the knowing that someone you love so dearly could lie and betray you (because spending intimate time with someone other than their Mum and also with someone else’s kid is betrayal). The truth is, as adults we do all have to deal with all of what happened to us and own it, but it goes a long way when Dad admits the magnitude of what he’s done and apologizes for all the ways he hurt people. Also, I like to encourage open communication all the time, BE runs from that sort of thing, you know… time we play this game by my rules! 🙂 I hope you are having fun with the girls!!! ❤

          Liked by 1 person

          • Am utterly miserable with a very heavy cold! Great timing. I really need to be in bed with lots of fluids. Instead I am crammed into a very average hotel room with both, trying desperately not to cough too much! Have taken some cold pills. Today is the uni open day. So might direct D where she needs to be and visit Te Papa and a couple of art galleries with Frenchie. Just wanna die! FML 🤕🤒😤

            Like

            • Nooooo! I hope the cold pills do something for you. Yes, absolutely, let D do the uni thing on her own… too taxing (and dare I say boring??? maybe that’s just me after having been on about two dozen, I’m sure you know the feeling. A bit exciting at first, but then, especially while sick, ew). Art galleries are fun… or a nap? I hope you feel better soon. Sending good vibes from across the world. ❤

              Liked by 1 person

              • I WOULD have another to entertain! Hehehe. D has talked to a course planner already, so really just getting a feel for the campus and sitting in on a couple of lectures for her today. I don’t think she is leaning towards this uni now. But worth a look while we are here. 😀

                Liked by 1 person

                • It’s an interesting process, figuring out the best uni fit. I remember taking S back east and sitting in with him at a science class on neurobiology. Total repeat of material from a class he took in high school. Teacher kept asking questions and oddly enough S was the only one raising his hand. The fact that he already knew all the material did not fare well for that school and in fact is one of the reasons he struggles at school. Too smart for his own good, he absolutely doesn’t like repeating material and that damn college prep school didn’t do him any favors. Most kids would be like, yeah, free A. I keep telling him it is a game he needs to learn how to play. He’s not buying… grrr… I hope D picked fun lectures to sit in on. Feel better!

                  Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. I actually do feel that knowing what he did had nothing to do with me, and our sons know this same truth for themselves, is beautiful, but this process definitely takes its toll. ♥️

      Like

  5. Wow 😖 it must have been so horrible for him to read that. We have images of our parents in our heads (usually unrealistic ones), and to have them shattered is very painful. I hope the peacemaker is feeling a little better. I think u should feed him something lovely 🐷❤️ a good burger solves a world of problems. I still remember the pic of that pimento cheeseburger 😜

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha, yes, that would be one of the bad habits I am going away for in 10 days… feeding emotions with food. 😉 But for now, we feast!!! LOL. He is okay. Both boys have known since the beginning about what their father did and what he is, but that doesn’t make it easier. BE needs to learn how to write from the heart, not check off a list from a white book. It’s all part of the process. A long, difficult process. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s